Governor, Lawmakers Disagree Over Heavy 'Vaping' Regs
Snyder wants to tax and regulate it like smoking, Legislature says no
A dispute between the governor and legislators means Michigan is the only state without taxes or regulations specific to e-cigarettes or vaping. Most states ban minors from buying or vaping e-cigarettes, while seven levy taxes on the product.
According to the Tax Foundation, vapor products are taxed in California, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Some cities in Alaska, Illinois and Maryland also levy excise taxes.
The Michigan Legislature has passed several bills to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but they were vetoed. In his veto message, Gov. Rick Snyder said the legislation “does not go far enough,” and that “electronic cigarettes are nicotine-delivery devices that resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes and share a common ingredient, which is the highly addictive chemical nicotine that is derived from tobacco.”
Studies show that e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine but not tar or smoke, are far safer than regular cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Evidence also suggest they help people quit more dangerous products such as traditional cigarettes.
But the governor wants them to be regulated like tobacco cigarettes, something Sen. Rick Jones, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says “will never get the Legislature’s support.” Bills have also been introduced that would add an extra tax to e-cigarettes, but they have gone nowhere.
Research estimates that the global e-cigarette industry will grow over 22 percent from 2015 to 2025, reaching a total market value of $50 billion by 2025. As the industry has grown, so has debate over how to regulate it.
Like several states, the federal government has flip-flopped. Under former President Barack Obama, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule that deemed electronic cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems to be subject to its authority beginning Aug. 8, 2016.
But the Trump administration pushed back the deadlines to comply with the new regulations. The FDA says, “The extension applies to compliance deadlines set for May 10, 2017 or later and applies to all categories of newly regulated products, including ENDS (e.g. e-cigarettes and e-cigars).”
The postponement means retailers and manufacturers will not have to include addictiveness warnings or ingredients on their product packages or ads. It is unclear whether the new administration will ultimately uphold or throw out the rule.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.